With so much focus on learning loss and the meme that kids are “so behind in learning” in the news, teachers, parents, and caregivers are becoming increasingly worried and frantic about how to help the learners “catch up.” However, I’m noticing it is all viewed through the lens of learning artifacts such as test scores and standards not achieved.
It seems that we’ve forgotten how to pay attention to what is significant in the learning process for the learner, not just the outcomes established by others. Often it is hard to observe this in others until we do it for ourselves. One way to activate our capacity to observe learning is to set an intention to observe our own learning.
There is often an emotional element in what is significant for you as a learner in acquiring knowledge and skills. During an experience, you might feel intrigued, curious, excited, frustrated, passionate, angry, or happy. When you start to pay attention to your own learning process, you’ll notice what really excites you, what frustrates you or blocks your learning. Then you are on your way to observing learning in the children in your life.
One strategy is to take a moment and jot down what you are doing and saying to yourself during learning situations in real-time and then notice patterns over time. For example, I love to learn. On most days, when I’m learning a new strategy to help a learner, I feel very excited to keep going until I master it, even if I’m making mistakes along the way. Yet, on another day, when I’m learning a new software program that I’m on deadline to show to a learner, I notice that I’m feeling very frustrated when I make a mistake. I question whether I’ll ever get it. These in-the-moment check-ins can give us a reading on our own self-talk during the learning process.
At other times, it is more helpful to set aside a few moments at the end of the day to ask yourself questions such as:
– What gave you the most joy today?- What did you struggle with?- What new ideas did you have?- What emotions were you aware of?
Reflecting on our learning experiences afterward can give insights into which types of learning we find most beneficial and ideas on making learning more effective and enjoyable.
I’m curious to hear what works for you. Feel free to comment below or send me a PM. In our next blog, we’ll look at how to shift to observing our children’s learning. So stay tuned!!